Dr Luke Garratt Awarded Research Funding

Dr Luke Garratt Awarded Research Funding

Funds raised through the 2020 Cystic Fibrosis Golf Classic – Supporting CF Research

CFWA are excited to announce The Australian CF Research Trust (ACFRT) have approved an application for research funding by Dr Luke Garratt from the Wal-yan Respiratory Research Centre, in place of the 2nd proposed PhD scholarship from 2020 CFWA Golf Classic proceeds (a second scholarship was not able to be awarded).

Dr Luke Garratt’s project is regarding neutrophils which perform an important immune function in your body, however for people with cystic fibrosis (CF) they can actually behave harmfully causing lung damage. Luke’s research aims to find methods to change this. CFWA liaises with local CF researchers on an ongoing basis, so we know this is a priority need for research funding support.

Dr Garratt is a dedicated CF and respiratory researcher and member of the CF team at the Wal-yan Centre, which is a partnership between Telethon Kids Institute, Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation and Perth Children’s Hospital. He was one of CFWA’s first PhD top up scholarship winners in 2011 and has gone on to receive a FutureHealth WA Merit award, as well as both fellowship and project grant funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council Early Career.

Dr Garratt’s team has been studying neutrophils as they first enter the lungs in early disease to see how they behave. Neutrophils are the dominant immune cell in your blood and are important responders to injury and infection. In CF, neutrophils accumulate in areas of the lung as mucus builds up and germs infect the airways. Products of neutrophils that are necessary for killing germs end up accumulating in the airway and damaging lung tissue.

Despite two decades of research showing that neutrophil accumulation is harmful to the CF lung and begins very early in life, there are still no routine treatments to stop neutrophils behaving harmfully in the CF airway. Dr Garratt’s team found that even in the first bouts of CF airway inflammation, neutrophils choose to actively release their harmful products rather than trying to eat and kill the germs causing infection. His current study is therefore focussed on developing new approaches to modifying gene expression in neutrophils and controlling neutrophil behaviour in CF airways. This project has an achievable 1-year time frame given it is not dependent on clinical samples (using neutrophils from healthy adult donors) and it uses some of the newest gene delivery technologies are now being applied in medicine. In the long term, the research may assist in developing a new class of anti-inflammatories for controlling neutrophil behaviour in CF airways and minimising /delaying lung damage.

The research funding will enable Dr Garratt to specifically dedicate time to ensure project completion, with two research reports to be produced from the work. The funding strongly aligns with both our philosophy of supporting the development and maintenance of a proactive CF research community based in WA; and with identified national CF research priorities with regards to lung health and infection management (based on consultation with people with CF, their families and carers; researchers, clinicians and the broader CF community).

For more information about the latest in CF research and the research we help fund, visit our Research and Advocacy Page.

Thank you to the Gillard Family and the other dedicated volunteers on the golf classic committee for their continued support, which has made this research funding possible.

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